Indiana was given the nickname of crossroads of America connecting the east to the new west. Its central location makes it easy to reach from anywhere in the country. As with most crossroads, Hoosiers are innovative and ready to try out new ideas giving rise to hometown companies like Lilly and Ball. It is an interesting mix of country and city being a leader in both agriculture and manufacturing. What it has to offer is as varied as its countryside.
While Indiana is the center of the country, Indianapolis is the center of Indiana. The state capital is also the largest city in the state. It growth to prominence is linked more to its central location in the state rather rather being blessed with natural resources. With a metro area of over two million residents, it is the commercial and cultural hub of the state. The city has five downtown cultural districts which are interconnected by a pedestrian and bike paths that allows visitor to see many of the cultural attractions together. Indianapolis is second only to Washington DC in the number of war memorials and you find many along this route. There are also many of the city’s historical museums as well as the Eiteljorg Museum which has one of the top collections of Native American art. Two major attractions a bit apart from the downtown concentration of landmarks is the area around the historic Crown Hill Cemetery. On the northern side of the cemetery is the museum of art adjacent to the Lilly Museum and garden. South of the cemetery is the world’s largest children’s museum. The town has become a major sport center hosting the NCAA as well as the NBA Pacers and the Indianapolis Colts of the NFL who play at Lucas Stadium. Memorial Day in the city is synonymous with the Indianapolis 500, the most recognized race in America. For those who want to be more than a spectator, the White River State Park in the heart of the city is one of most recognized urban greenways in the country and also the home to the Indianapolis Zoo.
The second largest city in the state was established long before the advent of the white man. Fort Wayne is the city of three river which drained the Black Swamp into Lake Erie and served as an important link between the Great Lakes and the Ohio River for the indigenous population. A fort was established at the confluence of the three rivers by General Anthony Wayne. It grew to importance as a commercial hub and a canal terminal. It is now a city of over 250,000 people and the center of activity in the northeastern part of the state. The city has established itself as a center for amateur sports and host a number national competitions. It also has professional baseball, basketball and hockey teams. The War Memorial Coliseum is the primary performing art venue, with the historical Embassy Theater hosting the city’s symphony and ballet. Follinger Park amphitheater and the botanical gardens host outdoor concerts spring through fall. IPFW, a regional university of over 20,000, has a large performing arts college and holds many events throughout the year. The major hometown celebration for the city is the Three Rivers Festival in July that celebrates the city’s heritage and bring over a million visitors to the city.
One of the top travel destinations for the state is South Bend. The small city was the home of Studebaker Motor Company that has now been turned into a museum. South Bend is also the home of Notre Dame University. Known as the Fighting Irish, this small Catholic university is considered one of the top schools in the country. Notre Dame is also a football mecca which has a loyal following all over the world that comes to South Bend every fall. It also has one of the most impressive architectural landmarks in the state, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. This neo-gothic cathedral features incredible stained glass and fresco murals and is the tallest university chapel in the country.
While the state has four season, weather never keeps Hoosiers from enjoying the outdoors. The state has 28 state parks and a great number of nature preserves and fishing areas. Public lands provide year-round recreation from summer hiking and camping to cross-country skiing and ice fishing in the winter. The crown jewel in the park system must be awarded to Brown County State Park and the adjoining Hoosier National Forest. In late September these woods explode into multicolor foliage and people fill lodges in nearby Nashville and Bloomington. Another popular park is the Indiana State Dunes which contains a unique ecosystem along the southern tip of Lake Michigan.
If you would like to charter bus service for sightseeing or are interested in bus rental for a special event, contact Shofur for more information.